On Wednesday afternoon, Gentry Estes of 247Sports (and others) reported that Daryl Jones had vacated his position as director of on-campus recruiting at the University of Georgia. Shortly after these initial reports, Jones issued a statement, per 247Sports confirming his departure:
After serving the past two years as Director of On-Campus Recruiting for the Georgia football program, I will be pursuing other opportunities going forward. I would like to thank Coach Richt for the opportunity of representing the Bulldawg Nation in that capacity. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Richt and all he stands for as a head coach, man, and leader of the football program. I enjoyed my role in the two top 10 recruiting classes we signed and want to wish everyone involved with the team nothing but success in the years to come.
While Jones’ leaving the program may have been somewhat surprising and his statement did little to clarify the reasoning for the change, one thing is certain: Jones’ resignation will not adversely affect Georgia’s 2015 recruiting class.
While it would be ignorant to discount the role of on-campus recruiting directors, it is important to understand the scope of their influence over blue-chip recruits.
A few months ago, Bleacher Report’s own Barrett Sallee took a behind-the-scenes look at an official recruiting visit in Athens. Anyone reading that article would be hard-pressed not to find Jones’ fingerprints throughout.
As director of on-campus recruiting, official visits were Jones’ wheelhouse. And he took the job seriously. According to Sallee, Jones viewed hosting official visits as a commitment of resources and a dedication of time.
We don't visit guys just for the sake of visiting. If they visit here, there's a sincere interest because we're pouring resources into them with manpower and hours being poured into getting guys here on campus. From that point on, we've done the background work, we know what they like, we know what their needs are and we know what they're interested in.
And to be sure, Jones had his hand in all of those actionable steps. Undoubtedly, he was instrumental in conducting background work, managing schedules, crafting activities and making the trip run smoothly.
Jones—or any on-campus recruiting director for that matter—can add value to the recruiting process by laying the ground work and executing logistics to perfection. And the importance of those functions should not be underestimated. But Jones was not the relational draw responsible for defining a recruit’s view of the program.
That responsibility—or perhaps more aptly, that opportunity—still belongs to the coaching staff.
As it stands, Mark Richt’s coaching staff continues to press forward in recruiting, and some of the nation’s best recruiters (Mike Bobo, Bryan McClendon, John Lilly, Jeremy Pruitt) will be the men responsible for earning the trust and confidence of recruits and their families.
So in that regard, Georgia’s recruiting objectives for 2015 have been minimally changed following Jones’ departure.
|Trent Thompson||Defensive Tackle||Mike Bobo|
|Rashad Roundtree||Safety||Jeremy Pruitt|
|Roquan Smith||Outside Linebacker||John Lilly|
|Micah Abernathy||Cornerback||Bryan McClendon|
|Darius Slayton||Cornerback, Wide Receiver||Bryan McClendon|
By most accounts, Jones performed well in his duties as director of on-campus recruiting, but his job (by its very nature) did not necessitate deep personal connections with Georgia’s top targets. Accordingly, fans can expect Georgia to fill the staff vacancy and press on.